The delegate math for the Republicans is difficult, with each state having its own rules down to the Congressional district level. More than 30 hours after polls closed, the majority of the states are still figuring out how to apportion the delegates. We have updated our projections in a simple way: the leading candidate in the state gets the balance of the delegates still on the table. This rough math generally favors Trump, but also gives Cruz a boost in Texas.
Based on those numbers, Trump fell short of our delegate projection by 71 (we saw him winning 358, but now see that coming out to 277). Cruz overshot: we see him winning 237 against the 165 we projected. While the news cycle for Rubio is certainly negative, he slightly overshot based on stronger-than-projected showings in Minnesota and Virginia.
The biggest deltas in our projection are Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Alaska. The latter two are simply because there weren’t any good polls, so the model defaulted to the national polling numbers, which benefited Trump. Hard to call those an upset. Oklahoma, though, is a big win for Cruz. The bigger prize for him, though, is probably the Carson dropout, which should boost him 5-10 points in states with strong evangelical populations (too bad most of those have already voted).
Does this change the outcome? Right now, not according to our model. We’ll have another post before the Saturday votes, but playing with the numbers still shows a high likelihood that Trump wins outright in the May/June timeframe. Florida and Ohio will be absolutely critical to the “block Trump” faction of the party…and, of course, whatever it is that Romney has to say may still have an impact.